Obama Turns His Attention to Diapers

Administration pledges to solve the ‘diaper divide’


President Obama’s latest priority as he winds down his final months in the White House is solving America’s "diaper divide" using technology.

The White House is "getting creative" to expand diaper access to low-income Americans and close the "diaper divide" by partnering with online retailers, diaper manufacturers, and non-profit organizations, Cecilia Munoz, the director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, said Thursday.

Munoz outlined the latest initiative in a post on the White House blog, which also implicitly scolded the Republican-led Congress for criticizing Obama’s proposed 2017 budget. The president’s budget for the next fiscal year demands $10 million to test ways to get diapers to families in need and analyze the resulting health improvements.

"Unless Congress acts, we don’t have a program to help struggling families buy diapers for their children," Munoz wrote.

According to the Associated Press, the administration is working with the e-commerce startup Jet, which sells and ships diapers, and First Quality, a company that produces Cuties diapers, to allow non-profits to purchase diapers at a lower cost. The participating groups will then allow the families they serve to buy the diapers.

Munoz noted that Obama is heading the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) annual technology festival in Austin, Texas, on Friday. During his appearance at the event, the first by a sitting U.S. president, Obama plans to discuss the ways that the White House is harnessing technology to improve American lives and may reference his diaper agenda.

The federal government under Obama has not always handled technology well. Obama was forced to admit that HealthCare.gov, the website central to his signature health care law, was a "disaster" after major glitches hampered it for months.